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Jubilation in Abuja, Others as Buhari Returns After 104 Days

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  • Jubilation in Abuja, Others as Buhari Returns After 104 Days

There was wild jubilation in Abuja, Katsina and other parts of the country on Saturday as President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country from London, United Kingdom where he had been for medical treatment since May 7.

Security operatives had a hectic time controlling the crowd as the President’s long motorcade moved from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to the Presidential Villa.

Many residents of the Federal Capital Territory thronged the major roads from the airport to catch a glimpse of the President, who had spent 104 days outside Nigeria.

Some of them were singing, dancing with banners of the President’s portraits in hand, while others jostled to take photographs of the President’s convoy with their mobile phones.

The presidential aircraft that conveyed Buhari landed at the airport at 4.35pm to the excitement of all those present.

The aircraft then taxied to the tarmac amidst music played by the Guards Brigade along with a cultural troupe performing at the airport.

The President disembarked from the aircraft, NAF 001, at 4.48pm. He was received by top government officials led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Decked in a brown kaftan, Buhari mounted a rostrum and saluted the guard of honour.

He did not inspect the guard of honour before proceeding to acknowledge cheers from well-wishers and the dancers.

He, thereafter, got into his official car to be driven to the Presidential Villa.

The airport was at a standstill as workers made frantic efforts to get a glimpse of him.

Airport roads shut, travellers, commuters stranded

Hundreds of workers, travellers and other airport users were stranded at the airport following the closure of roads in the area.

Many travellers and other people at the airport were forced to wait, as security operatives cleared dignitaries who had come to welcome the President.

Despite the closure of roads and the delay of the travellers at the airport, many of them were excited to see the President back in the country.

On roads leading to the airport were hundreds of people singing and dancing, as they welcomed Buhari.

There were chants of “Sai baba!” as some youths performed some stunts with their vehicles and motorbikes.

Other groups of people displayed placards with messages like: “Welcome home, dear President”; “Sai Baba”; and “We love Buhari” as they struggled to catch a glimpse of the President.

There were other excited Nigerians who moved closer to the car the President was riding in, screaming, “Sai baba!” as they danced, following the slowly moving convoy of Buhari.

Earlier, there was commotion at the commercial wing of the NAIA as air passengers and workers rushed out in excitement to see Buhari immediately his aircraft touched down.

Those at the commercial terminals tried to push their way through to the tarmac but were stopped by security officials and personnel of the Federal Airports Authority.

“I would have loved to see at least his plane, because I know there’s no way I can see him from this departure terminal,” Okeke Benny, a Lagos-bound passenger said.

Daura residents jubilate

Residents of Daura – Buhari’s hometown – in Katsina State on Saturday  evening suspended various activities they were engaged in to watch the President return to the country on television.

The residents who had waited patiently for the news of the arrival of the President, thereafter, began to dance as they sang to praise him.

In a carnival-like manner, some residents took to the streets in their vehicles and motorbikes;some drove around the town singing praises to God for bringing Buhari back to the country hale and hearty.

Business activities remained paralysed in major commercial areas, including Sabonline, Kofa-kaoran,Mani Road, Nagogo Road, and Ibrahim Babangida Way, in Katsina as many traders stayed glue to the TV.

Some youths were also seen in places like Rafindadi, Kofar Kwaya, Kofar Durbi and Kofar Sauri,also in Katsina singing Buhari’s praises and going from one place to the other.

A Daura resident, Shuaibu Haruna, said, “I am happy. At least, we shall all see our President and this will further shame those branding rumours around about him.”

Another resident, Hassan Dajuma, said, “You know, some people have cashed in on President Buhari’s absence to unnecessarily heat up the polity. Now, with his return, I foresee normalcy. I am happy for him; I am happy for our great country over his return.”

Speaking on Buhari’s return to the country, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, told reporters at the airport that Buhari’s return had nothing to do with the #ReturnOrResign protests that took place in Nigeria and London.

Adesina said he and some presidential aides knew about his return some days back.

Adesina had earlier on Saturday issued a statement in which he announced that Buhari would return to the country later in the day and address Nigerians through a national broadcast on Monday.

The statement read, “President Buhari is expected to speak to Nigerians in a broadcast by 7 am on Monday, August 21, 2017. He thanks all Nigerians who have prayed ceaselessly for his recovery and well-being since the beginning of the health challenge.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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